Before I get into any personal details of my language learning I want to send a big Thank you to the team behind this lovely side. Even when I finished level 59 I was still amazed at how many Kanji I’m able to get right just by looking at the radicals and recalling the mnemonics. I’ll certainly miss learning about Mrs. Chou or Ken the Samurai.
If I had to give one advise it would be to not start with WK too early in your Japanese language learning career. A mistake that I’ve made. Once the system starts to pick up and you also have a job or study at a university it is pretty tough to study Grammar on the side. My grammar is at N4 level for quite some time now. Once it has caught up to my WK level I’ll probably have forgotten a few of the kanji. But of course it’ll be much easier to relearn now, that certainly is a great benefit that’ll remain.
How I got interested in Japan
Throughout my childhood I kept having contact with Japanese culture without being aware of it. I grew up playing Pokemon and Tamagotchi, like most children from my generation. But also there was a TV Channel that’d show all the popular anime after school. I’m talking: Conan, Sailormoon, Kickers, Yu-Gi-Oh, Dragonball and so on. It was my ritual to come home and watch the anime program of said channel. However at that time I had no clue this was even called anime or that it came from Japan. I just liked the stories. I had also watched Last Samurai, which fascinated me already back then.
The first time I individualized Japan as a country with an own language was when I got into Ace Attorney and wanted to play games that didn’t get a western release.
My Japanese Language Learning Journey
At first I joined the Japanese school club, where we learned with the German version of Japanese for busy people. Looking back I can’t recommend the series and also we didn’t get past the famous これはペンです in the class. After having put Japanese aside for a while I started again. This time on my own using Genki I and II. I breezed through both of these books in maybe 3 weeks only to realize that without practice I wouldn’t retain a whole lot. Also I still couldn’t play Ace Attorney in Japanese, because of kanji. That was the time where I discovered Wanikani and signed up.
The first thirty levels I did about 1 level every 8 days. I quickly noticed however that my kanji knowledge was overtaking my grammar knowledge. So I paused WK to pass JLPT N4. I succeeded but after that I didn’t mangage to pick WK up with the same speed. Level 35-50 went painfully slow for me. Also my law studies started taking a good chunk of my time. Only when I came close to lvl. 50 I started focusing more on WK again, since it was only 10 more levels until I’d be done. But I have to say as much as I love WK, these last ten levels were annoying. I showed some of the Kanji to my japanese girlfriend and she admitted to having forgotten some of these Kanji. Why should I learn these kanji if even a native speaker can’t read (some of) them ?Also what was that whole thing about 凸凹? Telling them apart is a pain even in my native language! But I really wanted to finish what I started so I forced myself through those levels. However I want to use this opportunity to state that I’m not in favor of including levels 61-70. At some point you gotta let people be done. The higher that last level is the more you are going to discourage people from starting or following through.
What’s next ?
Well I got WK done. Maybe sometime in the future I’ll go through it again. But now I can’t wait to spend the WK time on japanese grammar. Maybe I’ll go through Genki II again. And then I’ll open that scary book on my shelf called “Tobira. Gateway to advanced Japanese”. Hopefully then I’ll at least be able to understand most of what’s going on in Japanese anime. Also I’d like to at least pass N2 at some point.
I may not have been the fastest, but I still hope that The Great Crabigator will benevolently look down upon my years of service. Serving Him has been an honour (although not always a joy )and of course I shall burn the remaining turtles in His name.